By the numbers: Strangest start of Cliff Lee's career

By the numbers: Strangest start of Cliff Lee's career
April 1, 2014, 12:15 pm
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Cliff Lee allowed eight runs in Monday's season opener, the most he's ever surrendered as a Phillie. (USA Today Images)

Monday's Phillies opener was unpredictable in just about every way, but two things are for certain: The Phils won't click like that offensively on a regular basis, nor will Cliff Lee struggle as much as he did.

In his five innings, Lee allowed eight runs, the most he's ever surrendered in his 106 starts as a Phillie. He was handed a six-run lead in the second inning and gave all of it back, allowing the Rangers to take a 7-6 lead that didn't last long.

It was arguably the worst start Lee's ever made. He let eight runs cross the plate, 12 men reach base and struck out only one batter. It was only the second time in the last seven seasons that Lee managed just one strikeout while pitching at least five innings.

But to be completely honest, it wasn't unexpected. Lee has always struggled at The Ballpark in Arlington and in the state of Texas in general.

In 15 career starts at the Rangers' home stadium, Lee has a 5.55 ERA. His next-worst ERA in a park where he's made at least 15 starts is 3.86, in Cleveland.

If you add Houston into that, Lee's ERA in the state of Texas is 5.91. How much does Lee hate Texas? His overall career ERA is 3.54, but if you remove Arlington and Houston from the equation it's 3.42. That is a staggering difference for a pitcher who's logged nearly 2,100 innings.

In the grand scheme of things, though, all that matters is that Lee and the Phillies won. He'll be back on track soon enough, and even if the path to the victory was difficult, Lee is now 18-0 in his Phillies career when given six or more runs of support.

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